Filed under: professional dress

What to wear to EmployUP (and other tips about professional appearance)

When you attend next Thursday’s EmployUP, making a positive impression with company recruiters is key to being invited for a job interview. Your visual appearance and how you interact with employers should complement the standout resume you present them.

Your visual impact has two elements: Appearance and your mannerisms. Use the following checklist to help make sure both get the employers’ attention for the right reasons.

Professional Wardrobe

Professional dress is required for admission to EmployUP. This guideline is for your benefit: Recruiters look favorably on candidates dressed in professional attire.

Women

  • Business suits
  • Khakis or dress slacks
  • Collared or button-down shirts
  • Professional dresses and skirts
  • Navy, black or dark grey colors work best
  • Neutral or matching panty hose
  • Closed-toe shoes (no sandals!)
  • Minimal jewelry (avoid long dangly earrings, bangle bracelets and excessive necklaces)
  • Groomed hairstyle
  • Light makeup and perfume
  • Neatly manicured, clean nails

Low-cut shirts, short skirts and tight fitting clothes make an impression, but not the right one.

Men

  • Suit (solid color, preferably navy, black or dark grey)
  • Long-sleeve shirt (white or color that coordinates with the suit)
  • Belt and matching tie
  • Dark socks and matching conservative shoes
  • Little or no jewelry
  • Neat professional hairstyle
  • Limit aftershave and cologne

Make sure your suit is properly fitted.

Other appearance errors to avoid

  • Wrinkled clothes. The night before or morning of the interview, iron your clothes.
  • Bad breath. Bring breath mints instead of gum.
  • A loud cell phone ring.  Turn off your cell phone or set it to vibrate.
  • Exposed body parts. Avoid mid-drift tops or muscle shirts.
  • Tattoos. If your arms are covered with art, cover them.
  • Food in your teeth. Check a mirror to make sure your smile won’t be distracting.
  • Piercings in other places besides ear lobes. Remove facial and tongue rings.
  • Unique hair color or nail polish. Stick to traditional conservative colors.
  • A backpack. Carry your resumes in a binder or folder.

The Career Services Professional Dress Pinterest boards provide great examples of professional dress, as does the EmployUP tips video. Check both of them out!

Mannerisms

From the moment you shake the employer’s hand you’re being evaluated. Use these tips about nonverbal behavior and you’ll be fine.

  • Offer a firm handshake (but don’t crush the recruiter’s fingers).
  • Maintain eye contact when speaking and listening.
  • Smile and show an engaged facial expression. Otherwise the recruiter might think you’re bored.
  • Avoid excessive hand gestures and twirling your hair.
  • Don’t carry a pen or other item if you’re inclined to play with it while talking to the recruiter (clicking pen, twirling it between fingers, etc.).
  • Don’t take calls from your cell phone (or even look at it) during your conversation.

 

 

 

 

February 22, 2016

You’re hired! 11 tips for acting professional on the job

  You made it. You’re no longer a job seeker, you’re a new employee. Interviews are over, a job was offered and accepted and you start work on Monday. The show’s over, so you can kick back and relax the professional behavior just a bit.

Not so fast.

You obviously made a good impression during the interview process. Here are 11 ways you can back up the hiring decision.

 1. Behave professionally. There’s a difference between being fun and being disruptive. You know the employee who spends more time in coworker’s offices, constantly talking off-topic and telling stories and   jokes and rarely getting any work done? Don’t be that employee.

 2. Dress appropriately. Ask about the office dress code and comply accordingly. This includes guidelines for facial hair, jewelry, shoes or other accessories.

 3. Keep your work space professional. Artwork on the wall or family photos are fine as long as they aren’t abundant. But you can’t expect coworkers to take you seriously if your cubicle or office resembles a high school locker. If you aren’t sure of guidelines for office décor, ask.

4. Be on time. If your day starts at 9:00 am, plan to arrive by 8:45. Conversely, don’t repeatedly sneak out the door 15 minutes before your work day ends.

5. Don’t gossip. There’s a difference between getting to know your coworkers and talking about them. Learning an office’s work history is one thing; getting the dirt about what goes on is another.

6. Maintain a good performance record. Reasons that people are let go from a job can include frequent absences, missed deadlines, customer or coworker complaints or unprofessional behavior. Don’t make it easy for an employer to let you go.

7. Limit personal phone calls, emails and text messages. You might need to take or make personal calls at work. Everyone does. But texting friends throughout the day or spending a great deal of time on the phone aren’t appropriate.

8. Learn to take criticism. All employees have areas of improvement. Your supervisor’s role is to help your career development, which includes recognizing what skills you can improve on. Don’t take the feedback personally. Learn from it.

9. Do your job well. Whatever your duties and responsibilities, do them to the best of your ability. If you don’t know how to do something, ask for help, rather than making excuses for why you didn’t do it.

10. Treat everyone with respect. The administrative assistant deserves just as much respect as the director. Smile and say hello to coworkers no matter what their job title is.

11. Offer new employees guidance. When you’re an established staff member don’t forget what it felt like to be the newbie. Pay it forward when a new employee is welcomed to the group.

Most would agree that job searching is tough. Just remember that after you’re hired you can’t let your professionalism slide, or you’ll be back to the job search sooner than you wanted to be.

 

June 2, 2014

10 simple job search etiquette tips you must follow!

JOB SEEKERS BEHAVING BADLY

There’s a headline you don’t want to be a part of. But your job search tactics may unknowingly be letting you. Are you following these 10 rules when it comes to the dos and don’ts of job search etiquette?

When you apply for a job, follow the directions given. Don’t blow off a requested item just because you don’t feel like doing it. Conversely, don’t submit any more information than employers asks for.  If they only want a resume don’t send a resume and a writing sample and a list of references and letters of recommendation. All you’ve proven is your inability to follow directions.

Clean up your online presence. Quit letting friends tag you in pictures from Saturday night’s party. Stop trashing coworkers and using foul language in your tweets and status updates. Guess who’s seeing your pictures and updates: Employers. And they aren’t inviting you for interviews thanks to your online presence.

Ditch the personality email address. Shopaholic@gmail.com, Funfoodie@hotmail.com and lovingGod@yahoo.com are fun and personal, but unprofessional. For job searching, use an email address that’s a combination of your name/initials.

Stick with a business letter format when applying via email.   Emailing and texting encourages quick conversations where grammar rules are tossed aside. Bring them back because this email is a cover letter or job prospecting letter. Begin with the proper salutation (Dear Mrs. Jones; Dear Mr. Smith). No text lingo or emoticons. Don’t LOL, 😉 or 🙂 at an employer. Ever.

Don’t no-show for a job interview. It’s rude. Things come up: Someone gets sick, your car breaks down. If there’s no way you can make the interview for legitimate reasons, contact the employer as soon as possible to inquire about rescheduling. If you change your mind about the job, you should still call the employer to decline the interview. But think long before doing this. Once you say you’re no longer interested in the position, it’s a done deal.

Dress appropriately for interviews. Why are so many blog posts still written about what to wear and not wear for job interviews? Because apparently interviewers still aren’t paying attention.

Send a thank you note – immediately. Email or write a thank you note within 24 to 48 hours after the interview. Is it required? Technically no. Should you consider it required? Absolutely yes.

Follow up with employers – don’t stalk them. When it’s your turn to ask questions during the interview, find out what’s next in the hiring process. The answer gives you an idea of when you could expect to hear about a job offer. Use this time frame to gauge when you should contact the employer if you haven’t heard anything. Just remember the difference between contacting and harassing. Daily or weekly phone calls and emails guarantee you won’t get the offer.

Give a job offer strong consideration before accepting or rejecting it. Don’t take job offers lightly. Employers don’t want to hire someone, only to have them quit during the first week or month. Conversely, once you reject a job offer, it’s unlikely you’ll be considered for future opportunities. Weigh all the pros and cons before making your decision.

Remember that your behavior isn’t fleeting – it’s forever. The world of work can be small. The way you behave from start to finish during the job search and hiring process is part of your professional brand. Employers share notes. Don’t be the topic of conversation that gets you blacklisted from future opportunities.

May 13, 2014

Professional dress: Make a good first impression at the Career Fair

As you’re preparing for the CPCC Job Fair on Thursday, March 6, remember this fact: Employers critique your candidacy before you say a word. As you walk up to their table and prepare to discuss your qualifications, they’ve already made one evaluation about your attire. Does your choice of clothing fit the part of a future employee?

Professional dress is required for admission to the career fair. Why? Because a career fair is an event where employers and job seekers discuss professional job opportunities. The question should be why wouldn’t you dress professionally?

But what does professional dress exactly mean?  Check out the following guidelines to help you dress for success at the career fair.

Women

  • Business suits
  • Khakis or dress slacks
  • Collared or button-down shirts
  • Professional dresses and skirts
  • Navy, black or dark grey colors work best
  • Neutral or matching panty hose
  • Closed-toe shoes (no sandals!)
  • Minimal jewelry (avoid long dangly earrings, bangle bracelets and excessive necklaces)
  • Groomed hairstyle
  • Light makeup and perfume
  • Neatly manicured, clean nails

Low-cut shirts, short skirts and tight fitting clothes will make an impression, but it won’t be the right one.

Men

  • Suit (solid color, preferably navy, black or dark grey)
  • Long-sleeve shirt (white or color that coordinates with the suit)
  • Belt and matching tie
  • Dark socks and matching conservative shoes
  • Little or no jewelry
  • Neat professional hairstyle
  • Limit aftershave and cologne

Be sure your suit is properly fitted.

Some other appearance errors to avoid at the career fair

  • Wrinkled clothes. The night before or morning of the interview, iron your clothes.
  • Bad breath. Bring breath mints instead of gum.
  • A loud cell phone ring.  Avoid this potential distraction when talking to an employer by turning your cell phone ringer off or at the very least setting it to vibrate.
  • Exposed body parts. A job fair isn’t the place for spaghetti straps, mid-drift tops or muscle shirts.
  • A showcase of tattoos. If your arms are covered with art, cover them.
  • Food in your teeth. Check a mirror to make sure your smile won’t be distracting.
  • Piercings in other places besides ear lobes. It’s best to removal facial and tongue rings.
  • Unique hair color or nail polish. Stick to traditional conservative colors.
  • A backpack. Carry your resumes in a binder or folder.

Finally, you don’t have to break the bank to look sharp. Big box favorites like Target, Kohl’s, TJ Maxx and Marshall’s offer great professional dress options at a fraction of the cost. Additionally, you can find items at consignment shops as well as Goodwill and Salvation Army stores.

 

 

February 17, 2014

Why attend the CPCC Career Fair & what to expect

The CPCC Career Fair is just over one month away! On Thursday March 6 employers will be at the Grady Cole Center to discuss full-time and part-time jobs as well as internship opportunities. Mark your calendar and plan to attend.

Why should I go to a career fair?

If you’re job searching, why wouldn’t you attend the job fair? This is your chance to meet employers face-to-face who are actively hiring people just like you. Online job searching has been a staple for years thanks to job boards like employmeNC and Indeed.com that let job seekers apply to jobs from the comforts of home. Social media has taken the online job search one step further allowing online interaction with professionals and company representatives through LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

But the chance to talk to an employer in person can’t be trumped or replaced. At the end of the day an in-person interview is how employers evaluate your candidacy for a job opening. Don’t pass up the opportunity to make a good first impression – and solidify yourself as one to be contacted for that interview. The job seeker attending the job fair has the advantage, so why shouldn’t that job seeker be you?

What can I expect at a job fair?

Be prepared for lots of people in a loud environment. Approximately 75-85 companies attend the event. They each bring two or more recruiters who spend time talking one-on-one to job seekers that number over 1,000. Each company sets up a display table. Their job is to promote their company as place you might like to work. Your job is to promote yourself as someone they might want to hire.

Anticipate long lines. CPCC students, alumni and all veterans can access the event through the VIP entrance. You may also encounter long lines at employer tables. Be patient. Remember you might meet your next employer today so it’s worth the wait.

Allow enough time. The CPCC Career Fair is open from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Depending on how many employers you plan to talk to, you could be at the event for an hour or longer. You’ll want to spend at least 5-10 minutes talking to each employer.

Start preparing now. A job fair isn’t an event you prepare for the night before. You’re going to need professional attire, a sharp resume, knowledge about the companies attending, a list of questions to ask them and a top-notch elevator speech that sells your skills and qualifications to each employer. Take the next month to get these items in order.

Visit Career Services to help you get ready for the job fair. Visit this blog over the next month for tangible tips on how to be successful at the event. Clear your class or work schedule now for March 6 to avoid conflicts and the chance to attend this event.

 

 

February 3, 2014

What to (and not to) wear at the CPCC Job Fair

Looking your best is important in the job search because first impressions are lasting ones. Fair or unfair, an employer forms an opinion of you before the handshake, greeting or initial conversation. What you wear when interviewing or meeting employers impacts your ability to find a job. It’s for this reason that Career Services requires professional dress for people planning to attend the CPCC Job Fair on March 7.

But what exactly does “professional dress” mean anyway? Check out the following guidelines for men and women to dress for success in your job search.

Women

  • Business suits
  • Khakis or dress slacks
  • Collared or button-down shirts
  • Professional dresses and skirts
  • Neutral or matching panty hose
  • Closed-toe shoes (no sandals!)
  • Minimal jewelry (avoid long dangly earrings, bangle bracelets and excessive necklaces)
  • Groomed hairstyle
  • Light makeup and perfume
  • Neatly manicured, clean nails

Ladies, the club scene and job search scene are two different scenes! Low-cut shirts, short skirts and tight fitting clothes are not appropriate.

Men

  • Suit (solid color, preferably navy, black or dark grey)
  • Long-sleeve shirt (white or color that coordinates with the suit)
  • Belt and matching tie
  • Dark socks and matching conservative shoes
  • Little or no jewelry
  • Neat professional hairstyle
  • Limit aftershave and cologne

Guys, a properly fitted suit makes the best impression. Make sure your suit suits your size and shape.

Guys and gals, remember to bring a folder to hold all of your resumes. Additionally, bring a bag to carry that folder and company handouts and materials that employers will be giving you.

So what are some dress no-no’s to avoid at the job fair?

  • Wrinkled clothes. The night before or morning of the interview, iron your clothes.
  • Bad breath. While chewing gum isn’t suggested, bring breath mints.
  • A loud cell phone ring.  Avoid this potential distraction when talking to an employer by turning your cell phone ringer off or at the very least to vibrate.
  • Exposed body parts. A job fair isn’t the place for spaghetti straps, mid-drift tops or muscle shirts.
  • A showcase of tattoos. If your arms are covered with art, cover them.
  • Food in your teeth. Check a mirror to make sure that your smile doesn’t reveal what you just ate for breakfast or lunch.
  • Piercings in other places besides ear lobes. It’s best to removal facial and tongue rings.
  • Orange, yellow, green and blue hair color or nail polish. Stick to traditional conservative colors.

Don’t break the bank to dress professionally

Dressing professionally can be achieved on a budget. Check out these resources where you might find great deals on business suits and other professional attire:

Finally, don’t forget the most important accessory: Confidence!

 

January 28, 2013


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